Some years back, I worked as an in-home therapist with autistic children. This can be a somewhat stressful, yet very rewarding position to be in. I had the privilege of helping children learn to read, speak clearly, constructively socialize, and far more. I also got to clean up their messes, explain to them why what they just did was unacceptable (without upsetting them further).
One particular session has stuck with me more than all the rest, even years later. On this particular day, he and I were playing outside which involved working with him to know where the boundaries of “ok” are (stay in your yard, don’t run in to the road, rocks aren’t food, etc.). We were jogging around the side of the house when he stopped in his tracks and just stood there, very still. As he had a propensity to bolt towards the road the weeks before this, I was worried this was what he was about to do. However, he surprised me by instead standing very still until a calm breeze blew past us as he closed his eyes and then bending down to play with a clover in the grass. I simply stood there in awe. Here I was, being taught all over again to enjoy the smallest of smalls; the wind on a cool day. This wasn’t the only instance of “the teacher learning from the student” this little boy gave me, yet it is by far the one which has stuck with me the strongest.
Throughout the years since the above morning, I have thought of the lesson I was taught by a 6 year old child many times. It has always been a reminder to me of how we should take a moment to revel in the smallest details of life, of how it is in the minutia where we can find unexpected joy and contentment. I sometimes take the time on my walk to work to just stop and feel the breeze on my skin, always thinking of the little boy who reminded me how to remember to notice such experiences going on all around me.
It struck me on this unassuming day, and has continued to strike me on days since when I stop to consider, how nuanced the tools God uses to remind us of His messages are. Here this child was, finding as much joy in the breeze on a summer day and a clover in the grass as he found in most of his toys. He made me stop along with him, and by doing so led me to having a moment of pure calm standing next to him. The calm I found standing there was so profound it has reverberated through the years of my life more strongly than any church sermon or scriptural passage I have ever heard. The moments I was there are a golden gift from God to me; something I cherish joyfully. I have had other moments of enjoying nature, yet for some reason unknown to me this one struck a lasting chord in my memory.